When I was anxiously preparing for the start of the World Championships I saw a glimpse of some of the announced runners that would be attending the event. I saw at least 10 athletes that had running times that were so superior to mine, I felt like a JV high school runner at best. I mentioned this to a mentor and friend of mine, Chris Clifford and he said, “remember Spartan Racing is a different beast.” Chris said, “if you had to spend 5 minutes in a boxing ring with one of these 120 lb, 14-minute 5K guys, and then race the Spartan event who do you think would win?”

As I stood on one of the 15-round Spartan stickers, waiting for the start of the 7 AM elite Fenway Park Spartan Sprint, with less than a minute to go Chris’s words came to my mind. I glanced to my right and looked at the 205 pound Alexander Nicholas, then in front at the 200 pound Hunter McIntyre and then I noticed there were also the runners with the sub-140 pound frames and thought the only way Spartan Races attract all of us is because they are battles, not races.  I smirked a small smile as I pictured Alexander Nicholas, with his baggie Moi Thai shorts from his Elite Fitness Club in a MMA ring with Hobie Call and thought, Spartan has created an event where heart, strength, agility, speed, endurance – everything – is needed to win.  

Fenway’s start was a battle; athletes were greeted by an immediate bottleneck and a serious urgency to be the first to the front if they had any desire of being a contender. Grasping the handrail and whipping myself around the turns of the ramp, climbing furiously, I found myself urging to be in first but ebbing in and out of the top 5. As soon as we reached about 300 feet of vertical climbing we quickly grabbed the dual 5 gallon jugs and were performing the farmer’s carry down stairs that brought us back down the vertical only to carry the 60 pounds of water right back up. Only 2 minutes into this race I found my lungs being seared by the crisp, morning air.

After ascending over and through the bungee cords I found myself in the company of Hunter McIntyre and Brakken Kraker. We had a fairly good gap as we entered the rowing machines. I had heard the rowing machines were a 500 meter row in less than two minutes with a pre-programmed message on the screen: less than 2 minutes, “AROO!” more than 2 minutes “Screw You!” Actually, the message said, “30 burpees” but screw you and 30 burpees is quite similar if you’ve ever done a Spartan Race.

I finished the row just in front of Hunter but felt a little timid leading through the ups and downs and lefts and rights through the stadium seating rows.  I felt it better strategy to follow then to lead.  As we continued through obstacles I felt like an MMA fighter exchanging blows as we went count-for-count through the heavy rope, slam balls and hand-release pushups. I found myself on the defensive as Hunter made his move and Brakken made his.  

With a mere 7 minutes remaining in a short 25-minute sprint, I helplessly watched as Hunter and Brakken dropped me through the sandbag carry and would proceed to finish in yet another (Remember Miller Park) finish-line sprint. As I went over the final set of 5-foot walls, followed by the 8-foot wall I saw out of my peripheral on the giant Fenway Screen, Hunter and Brakken going neck and neck on the final box jumps. Hunter would once again beat Brakken by less than a second.

I crossed the finish line and again reflected on being a fighter in a battle and pushing myself beyond my limits. Third place didn’t feel like a victory, it felt more like being on the ropes and not punching back when the time was necessary. However, once again I walk away from my early career as a Spartan Racer yearning for the next battle and planning how I will be delivering the blows and beating the beasts that this sport has given me.

The Bear


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A year a ago a Spartan Race in a stadium sounded a little strange to many Spartan veterans. Many scoffed at the idea of a race without mud, water and fire. Once they were reminded of the whole theory behind Spartan training, to prepare for the unexpected, it began to make more sense. Leading up to Fenway 2012 many were unsure of what lay ahead.

 

How would the course be set up?

What would the waves be like?

What “traditional” obstacles would be on the course?

How much running would there be?

What new obstacles might be out there?

As expected Spartan Race proved that the stadium venue was just as challenging as a sprint out on the trails. In fact many find the stadium more challenging than a Sprint. CrossFit style obstacles are utilized: box jumps, rowing, jump ropes, ball slams and push-ups to name just a few. In addition, the stadium atmosphere makes it friendlier to spectators and easier for many athletes to attend.

 

That first race laid the groundwork not only for more races in the US, but also the first international stadium race in Mexico at Estadio Azteca. Coming in 2014 will be more stadium races including Aloha Stadium in Honolulu.

What can you expect to see on Saturday in Boston?  Well the Pro Team will be well represented by Hunter McIntyre and Brakken Kraker. They had a photo finish a few weeks ago at the Miller Park race in Milwaukee. It will be a fierce battle for first with those two on the course. On the women’s side, look for TyAnn Clark, making her stadium debut, and Andi Hardy. In addition, other top talent from New England will be there to give them a run for their money. It should be another exciting weekend of racing at Fenway.

Next up, Malibu!

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by Margaret Schlachter, guest blogger

2010 may have been the start of my Spartan journey when I was one of the original Spartans racing in the first Spartan Race in early 2010. 2011 marked my first podium and an invitation to join Spartan Chicked from the beginning, but it’s 2012 that will forever go down in the history books.

2012 was an incredible year, little did I know that in June when I started my 2012 season I would race nineteen official times and a few laps to help out, amass seven podium finishes and never out of the top 15. Little did I know I would travel throughout the country, race countless miles, make lasting friendships, and change careers all because of Spartan Race. I could write novels about the year but instead condensed it down to my Top 10 Moments in Spartan for 2012.

Top 10 Moments in Spartan Race of 2012

10.       The Perfect Race – finishing my first race with a single penalty burpee in Amesbury, MA Sprint.

9.         Finishing 3rdboth days in the Mid-West Super Spartan. It was an incredible weekend where two great races happened.

Margaret Schlachter and Juliana Sproles

8.         Watching the Spartan Chicked movement grow over 9,000 members. We started with a dozen women brought together with an idea by Carrie Adams and today it’s grown beyond what any could have imagined a year and a half ago.

7.         A Book Deal – Because of OCR and Spartan Race I am working on my first book due out in Spring 2014, dedicated to getting more people into racing and getting over the hurdles that stand in the way.

6.         Racing in Fenway Park – I went to college in Boston and that’s when I first got into baseball. Racing in Fenway was a surreal experience, hugging the Green Monster, burpees on the warming track, and seeing parts of the park otherwise closed to the public was priceless!

5.         The People – The Spartan Community is unlike any other in sport. The bonds and friendships formed are closer than many friendships I have had for years. Some of my biggest competitors are my best friends. The conversations on the trails during races are what sometimes got me to the finish.

4.         DNF’ing the Death Race after 25 hours of racing – More was learned in about myself in that DNF than I could have ever known.

3.         Finishing the Ultra Beast – it was more than a race for me, a goodbye to Killington, Vermont where I started my fitness journey. My last time on “my” mountain before moving to Utah, it was a race that transcended the rest.

2.         Chris Davis – Meeting and helping Chris to train for the Vermont Beast was an experience that not only allowed me to help train another Spartan but more importantly I got a great friend out of it. The first time he got over the 8ft wall in my backyard is a treasured memory of 2012

1.         Turning “pro” – In July, I quit my day job and simultaneously became the first female professional obstacle course racer. My life is my website, Dirt in Your Skirt, racing and training.

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by Carrie Adams

Spartans from far and wide descended on Fenway Park for the first of its kind Obstacle Course Race in a major league ballpark. It was all smiles as the Spartans raced up and down and around the stadium for the inaugural event. It was also celebrating 100 storied years of history in the beloved national treasure and we were thrilled to be able to bring that experience to our racers.

One of our Spartans on the day was Kevin Faulk, a three-time Super Bowl champion with the New England Patriots. Kevin’s 12 year career in the NFL thus far was spent entirely with the Pats. He was drafted in the second round of the 1999 Draft and made an impact almost immediately as he was New England’s leader in yards rushing in 2000. That year, he added 51 catches for 465 yards and one touchdown. He was also active on special teams, leading the team with 38 kickoff returns for 816 yards while also returning six punts for 58 yards. In 2001, against the Miami Dolphins, Kevin completed a 23-yard pass to quarterback Tom Brady, his first career pass completion.

Kevin and the Patriots would go on to win Super Bowl XXXVI over the St. Louis Rams. In 2002, Kevin’s seven total touchdowns ranked second on the team. He also finished second in the NFL in 2002 with a 27.9-yard kickoff return average. That same year, he broke the Patriots’ franchise record for total kickoff return yards, which had previously been held by Dave Meggett, who had 2,561 yards on kickoff returns. Also in 2002, Kevin returned two kickoffs for touchdowns, becoming only the second player in Patriots history to return more than one kickoff for a touchdown in a season. He became the only player in franchise history and the only NFL player in the 2002 season to record multiple touchdowns in three different categories: rushing, receiving, and kick returns.

For the next two seaons, Kevin continued to contribute to the Patriot offense as the team won both Super Bowl XXXVIII in 2004 and Super Bowl XXXIX in 2005. On November 26, 2006, in a game against the Chicago Bears, Kevin surpassed Tony Collins on the Patriots’ all-time receiving list for a running back with 262nd catch. During the 2007 season, Kevin was a consistent starter alongside fellow running back Laurence Maroney and in 2009 he became the team’s all-time leader in all-purpose yards, amassing 12,140 yards by the end of the season. He also became the 26th running back in NFL history with at least 400 receptions.

Of the Spartan Race he experienced he said, “I had the pleasure of making an appearance at the Spartan Race in Boston, it was one of the best experiences ever!  Going through the obstacle course reminded me a little of training camp. You have to have your mind right and get ready for the challenge ahead, the course is not only physically challenging but also mentally. I met a lot of great people who participated in the race and challenged themselves to finish the course. I am going to bring my whole family with me next year to compete in the race. Thank You Spartan Race for showing me a great time. ”

 


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by Carrie Adams

As Spartan Race prepares to enter Fenway for what will be the FIRST Obstacle Race in the beloved ballpark, we thought we should tell you all about what makes the park unique in its 100th year!

I enlisted the help of my friend and fellow Spartan Chick Bostonian, Andrea Piscopo for some insider facts the on one of the most cherished sporting landmarks in the United States.

Built in April 1912, America’s most beloved Ballpark also known as Fenway Park is the home to the Boston Red Sox. There are many unique features to this beloved and historic park that make it so wonderful.   It first opened its doors in 1912, but the ballpark was not complete.  There was only seating in centerfield bleachers, right field grandstand and main grandstand. The main grandstand still stands today.

In 1934 Tom Yawkey purchased Fenway Park, he would make some changes – a giant wall was erected…and years later it was painted green to match the rest of the ball park, it was then that the “Green Monster” was born. You will also see a ladder on the Green Monster, it no longer serves a purpose, but it used to be there to climb and retrieve home run balls from the netting. Another gift left from the Yawkey’s was Morse code on the scoreboard – the code stands for the initials of Thomas A. Yawkey and Jean R. Yawkey; former owners of Fenway Park. This scoreboard is still updated by hand from inside.

Two great’s from Sox history: Johnny Pesky and Ted Williams…There right field foul pole named after the great Johnny Pesky, who hit a game winning home run around the foul pole. As for Teddy Ballgame, Section 42, Row 37, Seat 21 – it is painted red in honor of the longest home run ever in the park; 502 feet from home plate.

How’s that for a Spartan challenge?  See you at the ballpark!

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by Carrie Adams

As the countdown continues towards Spartan Race joining the yearlong festivities to commemorate Fenway Park’s 100th anniversary, Spartan has an exciting announcement.  As you already know, and for the first time ever, Boston’s cherished ballpark will be transformed into an obstacle racing venue for the Spartan Sprint Time Trial presented by Dial For Men, Saturday, Nov. 17 and Sunday, Nov. 18, 2012.  We’ve also just recently added a three-time Super Bowl champion will be joining the race!  Kevin Faulk will be on-hand to compete in the race on Saturday with the former New England Patriot standout!

Kevin Faulk is a three-time Super Bowl champion with the New England Patriots. Kevin’s 12 year career in the NFL thus far was spent entirely with the Pats. He was drafted in the second round of the 1999 Draft and made an impact almost immediately as he was New England’s leader in yards rushing in 2000. That year, he added 51 catches for 465 yards and one touchdown. He was also active on special teams, leading the team with 38 kickoff returns for 816 yards while also returning six punts for 58 yards. In 2001, against the Miami Dolphins, Kevin completed a 23-yard pass to quarterback Tom Brady, his first career pass completion.

Kevin and the Patriots would go on to win Super Bowl XXXVI over the St. Louis Rams. In 2002, Kevin’s seven total touchdowns ranked second on the team. He also finished second in the NFL in 2002 with a 27.9-yard kickoff return average. That same year, he broke the Patriots’ franchise record for total kickoff return yards, which had previously been held by Dave Meggett, who had 2,561 yards on kickoff returns. Also in 2002, Kevin returned two kickoffs for touchdowns, becoming only the second player in Patriots history to return more than one kickoff for a touchdown in a season. He became the only player in franchise history and the only NFL player in the 2002 season to record multiple touchdowns in three different categories: rushing, receiving, and kick returns.

For the next two seaons, Kevin continued to contribute to the Patriot offense as the team won both Super Bowl XXXVIII in 2004 and Super Bowl XXXIX in 2005. On November 26, 2006, in a game against the Chicago Bears, Kevin surpassed Tony Collins on the Patriots’ all-time receiving list for a running back with 262nd catch. During the 2007 season, Kevin was a consistent starter alongside fellow running back Laurence Maroney and in 2009 he became the team’s all-time leader in all-purpose yards, amassing 12,140 yards by the end of the season. He also became the 26th running back in NFL history with at least 400 receptions.

Prior to his career in the NFL, Kevin played at Louisiana State University where he immediately became the starting running back as a true freshman in 1995. In 1996, he was voted to the College Football All-America Team by the Associated Press. Kevin ran for 1,144 yards on 205 carries in 1997, scoring 15 touchdowns and improved on those numbers as a senior in 1998 when he ran for 1,279 yards on 229 carries and scored 12 rushing touchdowns. Kevin finished his LSU career with 4,557 yards rushing in 41 games, which was the second best in SEC history behind the legendary Herschel Walker of Georgia. Kevin also finished his career with 6,833 career all-purpose yards and 53 total touchdowns, which tied him for fifth in NCAA history and first in SEC history. His SEC record was surpassed on November 21, 2009 by the University of Florida’s Tim Tebow.

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by Carrie Adams

How does a historic ball park celebrate it’s 100th anniversary?  With a Spartan Race, of course!  The Green Monster is no match for the thousands of Spartans that will invade on Saturday November 17th and Sunday, November 18th 2012.   Spartan Race, the world’s leading obstacle racing series and Outside Magazine’s Best Obstacle Race in 2012, is joining yearlong festivities to commemorate Fenway Park’s 100th anniversary with an event as unique as the two iconic institutions themselves. For the first time ever, Boston’s cherished ballpark will be transformed into an obstacle racing venue for the Spartan Sprint Time Trial presented by Dial For Men, Saturday, Nov. 17 and Sunday, Nov. 18, 2012.

“Spartan Sprint at Fenway Park will be an experience no one has ever seen in the world of obstacle racing,” noted Spartan Race co-founder Joe Desena. “For the first time ever, Spartans will have the chance to run a time trial through one of America’s most treasured landmarks.”

“Making it even more memorable,” Desena continued, “Fenway Park is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year.  This truly is a chance of a lifetime.  We urge everyone to take advantage of this rare opportunity to be a part of history in more ways than one.”

Desena went on to explain that the approximately one-mile course is a head-to-head, time trial, speed-style event, not a distance race – with the unique twist of incorporating numerous, challenging obstacles for which Spartan Race is famous.

Adult heats will start at 8:30 a.m. and continue in roughly five-minute, small waves with individual start times assigned at the event.  No aid stations will be available on the course.  As with all Spartan events, points will be awarded.  Each racer will receive a unique medal, commemorative t-shirt, photographs and access to Fenway Park, as well as get to see themselves on the stadium’s JumboTron and take home memories for a lifetime.  Beloved Mascot, Wally the Green Monster, will be onsite 10am-2pm each day.

Children also can join in the fun and excitement with the Jr. Spartan Adventure Race.  The course will be approximately one-half mile for children 4-9 and one mile for ages 10-13.  The children’s event will feature a variety of scaled-down obstacles and their own mini-festival area filled with games and children’s challenges.  Each child will receive a t-shirt and finisher’s medal.  All Jr. Spartan Adventure Race proceeds will benefit the Kids Fit Foundation. As a leader in the movement to help children learn life-long health and fitness habits, the Kids Fit Foundation strives to raise awareness and develop programs that educate, empower and inspire kids to become and stay fit.

For more information about the historic Spartan Sprint at Fenway Park, including entry fees and deadlines, spectator tickets, parking and children’s activities visit http://www.spartanrace.com/fenway-park-obstacle-racing-spartan-sprint-2012.html

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